D3 Season 11 Starts Thursday!

Is anybody out there still excited about Diablo 3’s seasons? I mean I’m excited to really dig into a playthrough with a necromancer, and the new pet looks pretty great, but the season itself? Definitely lost a lot of its charm. It doesn’t help that I fully completed the season’s journey last time around, so there’s nothing much to aspire to. Many of my usual D3 buddies have stopped coming around for the season launch at all, although there’s still a few of us that still plan to team up on opening night.

Unlike previous seasons, S11 is starting on a Thursday. That’s bad news for trying to get to 70 or onto the leaderboards right away, but I’m not sure how much of a hurry I’ll be in this season anyway. I’ll be happy to get as far as I can in the few free hours I have, and then make the real push on Friday as usual. I don’t have any expectations for this season other than getting the cosmetic items. I also still have 3 barbarian set dungeons to master. I haven’t decided yet whether I want to go for the Masters of the Universe conquest again this season, and use it as an excuse to finish up the barbarian and necromancer dungeons. There are several conquests that are much easier this time, so it certainly isn’t necessary. I also already have most of the sets collected now on my non-seasonal barbarian, and I’m not sure I want to have to level and farm everything up again on a new one.

It actually feels pretty nice to go into the season with very low expectations. There’s no pressure, I can take things at my own pace, and once I get my cosmetic goodies I don’t have to feel bad if I get distracted by something shiny and wander away for a while. I’m especially glad that I can put the new necromancer through its paces without worrying about having to play it at a high enough level for the Conqueror or Guardian tiers. A nice chill D3 season is just what I need to distract me from the fact that we’re starting on Omega Savage this week in FFXIV.

Monk Set Mastery

Monk is probably the class I have played the least in D3. I mean I don’t love the barbarian, but I had at least leveled one to 70. Not so with Monk. That made a bit of extra challenge, since I had to spend a lot of time leveling and farming to get reasonable gear for this project. After having done these dungeons, I still don’t really enjoy monk, but I’m not as intimidated and annoyed at playing melee.

MonkBanner

The first monk dungeon I tried was the Inna’s Mantra one, entirely because that’s the first full set I found via my farming. That might have been a mistake. Inna’s is one of the dungeons where too much power is a terrible thing. The objectives are to avoid getting frozen, which is incredibly easy, and to unleash mystic allies on 10 enemies within 10 yards (x5). Unfortunately my allies were a bit too helpful and kept killing the enemies well before I could round up a group of 10. I had to play a game of stripping off my legendary gems and swapping out gear until I got to a point where I could meet this objective even once in the dungeon, much less 5 times. I finally got it thanks to a combination of moving gear around and getting extremely lucky with spawns of enemies. In the end I had to remove one of my rings entirely, which seems questionable. Definitely a frustrating start to this group of dungeons.

Next up was the Dungeon of the Raiment of a Thousand Storms. The two objectives are very straightforward, reach the golden chest in under 2 minutes and do not get hit by a single succubus projectile. This took a couple tries, since you have to find a good balance between clearing the early parts of the dungeon and getting to the middle of the maze to hit the chest in time. The first few times through I could either hit the chest or clear enough enemies but not both. Eventually I found that clearing most of the straight outside path, rushing to the chest, then backtracking through the maze seemed to work pretty well. Even though it took a few attempts, this one felt more like a fun challenge than an annoyance. I liked it!

Third on the list was Uliana’s Stratagem. The first time through I didn’t complete either of the objectives, I’m not sure whether that is the fault of the dungeon or my unfamiliarity with monk. The requirements are to simultaneously explode 15 enemies marked with exploding palm (x4), and to take no fire damage at all. Only the elites have fire attacks, but unfortunately the dungeon itself has various fire traps in the floor you have to watch out for. This dungeon is also quite large and sprawling, so it pays to either look up a map or run it a couple times to get used to the layout. On my second attempt I got both objectives but was still missing around 50 enemies, simply because I hadn’t cleared fast enough. I ended up “cheating” the fire damage with the Star of Azkaranth, and got it on my 4th try.

Last but not least was the Sunwuko (Monkey King) set dungeon. The objectives are to maintain sweeping wind for the duration of the dungeon, and use decoys to hit 20 different enemies in 6 seconds (x5). On my first try of the dungeon, I both failed to keep up sweeping wind and also died because I was dumb. I got the mastery on the second attempt. I’d say this was definitely one of the easier dungeons to master. The map is big but manageable with dashing strike, and there were plenty of enemy groups to hit for the decoy objective. I think there’s a legendary belt that might have helped me keep up sweeping wind more easily, but I didn’t have it and I managed fine without it.

This group of set dungeons was a very mixed bag. They ranged from incredibly annoying (Inna’s), to very easy (Sunwuko’s). They also included one with a gimmick that I suspect some people probably hate but I thought was actually pretty fun (the golden chest in Thousand Storms). I was afraid at the outset that I was going to struggle more than usual with these since I had never played monk before, but it turned out not to be much worse than any of my other set dungeon struggles. Now only the barbarian stands between me and two pairs of awesome wings!

Witch Doctor Set Mastery

I’m still slowly moving forward with the goal of mastering all of the set dungeons in Diablo 3. So far I’ve finished the Demon Hunter, Wizard, and Crusader ones. Next I decided to work on the Witch Doctor mastery, since I play that class fairly often and had all of the sets laying around. Sadly even with all of the time I spent with the class, I had only mastered one dungeon so I still had plenty of work to do. At least the pennant reward for this mastery looks neat!

WDPen

The set dungeon I had already completed was the Jade Harvester’s. I decided to try it again for this project just to remind myself what it was like so I could record it here. The objectives are to harvest 15 enemies (x10) and kill a total of 100 enemies while they’re affected by both haunt and locust swarm. I got it on my first attempt. It definitely helped that this is the set I’m most comfortable with and I had plenty of choices for legendaries to make it work. I suspect the biggest issue with this one would normally be clearing everything within the timer since the map is fairly large and convoluted.  I used Shukrani’s Triumph in the cube which let me spirit walk until I attacked or found an enemy, which made for a speedy, easy run.

Next up was the Helltooth Harness set dungeon. The first objective here is easy. “Do not take any poison damage” can be utterly trivialized by cubing Mara’s Kaleidoscope. I’m sure it is possible to do without this item but why bother if you have one available? The second objective is to kill 20 enemies with a single wall of death (x4). This was the sort of objective that gives me trouble. First, you have to be able to 1-shot the small enemies with your wall, which hopefully shouldn’t be too hard. I used a Jeram’s Bracers to increase damage to make sure of this. More importantly though, you actually have to find or make groups of 20 enemies. It was tricky to do since the dungeon has a lot of little pockets and pillars that make it hard to find and group up the mobs. I had no trouble running through and killing everything in time, but it took me 5 or 6 tries to meet this objective. If RNG is kind and you get good pack placement this one should be easy.

After that I worked on the Arachyr’s Mantle dungeon. The easier objective here was to let your hex toad lick 30 enemies. On my first attempt I was so eager to get this done that I botched the other objective. Killing all of the elites while they are both webbed and piranha’d was tricky simply because they got accidentally killed by other things first. On the plus side there aren’t that many enemies and the layout is fairly straightforward so eventually I just ran through to find the elites first and then let the toad mop up for my 30 licks. The other good thing about this one is it didn’t require much in the way of specialized legendaries other than the set itself. It took a few tries to get the hang of what I needed to do but was definitely easier than the Helltooth dungeon.

The last of the Witch Doctor dungeons was Zunimassa’s. This one asks  you to grip 150 enemies in grasp of the dead, and to avoid getting into melee range with anything. That second requirement really slows you down, because you can never risk running ahead and getting too close to an enemy. With reasonable gear things should die quickly to your swarm of pets before they get to you though. I managed to 1-shot this one without even looking at the map ahead of time, so I’d call this one very easy.

Overall these were way easier than I expected them to be. Since I already had all the gear I needed I managed to knock all of them out in a single evening. I’m getting close to my goal but the next two classes are ones I’ve never played so there will be some down time while I level and farm gear for them. Still, I’m getting close enough that those awesome wings look like an achievable goal now!

 

 

 

 

Crusader set dungeons

I guess I’m following through on this nonsense mission to try to master all of the set dungeons in Diablo 3, because cosmetics are the true endgame and the wings you get as a reward are so very sweet. Having finished off the Demon Hunter and the Wizard dungeons for Season 10’s conquest waay back in April, I decided to step out of my comfort zone for the next one. So I leveled a crusader, a class which I’ve never really played any farther than leveling to 70. I don’t really love playing melee in Diablo games, I’m not sure why. Mostly I suspect that it is far outside of my “player fantasy” idea. I want to be smart and precise and out of harm’s way, not wading into the thick of things. Even so, the crusader is survivable and has enough shiny tricks to be entertaining.

crusaderMasteryI did the dungeons in order of what gear I happened to collect, so the Invoker dungeon was up first. This might have been the easiest set dungeon out of any of the ones I’ve tried. The objectives are to get hit by the goatmen’s spears, and to kill the elites while both consecration and iron skin are active. The enemies are easy and the dungeon layout is very straightforward without a lot of twists or dead ends. I looked up the map before I started, and I completed the mastery on my first try with almost 30 seconds to spare. My weapons and armor (other than the Invoker set) were a random collection of whatever I had laying around, including some yellows. Seriously easy. If you’re struggling with mastering a set dungeon for the season journey, I would highly recommend this one.

Next up was the Light’s set dungeon. The objectives are to use falling sword 3 times within 15 seconds (x3) and to not get hit by any of the enemies’ mortar attacks. You’ll want the weapon Cam’s Rebuttal for this one, since it will let you cast falling sword more often. The layout of the dungeon is a very simple series of T intersections, and wasn’t bad at all to finish. The main thing holding me back on this one was my time to kill the elites, since that both made it harder to kill everything in the time limit and made me have to dodge more mortar attacks. With some slightly better gear this one would be a breeze.

The third crusader set dungeon I attempted was Roland’s. I struggled with this one until I got the exact right gear for it. Namely, the Flail of the Charge/Shield of the Steed combo for faster movement, and Golden Flense (2H flail) for wrath restoration. Without the steed charge boost I couldn’t clear fast enough, and without the Flense I couldn’t meet one of the objectives at all. The first objective is to hit 12 enemies with a single sweep attack (x7). There are multiple points on the map with big groups of enemies so this wasn’t too bad, especially with Illusory Boots in the cube to allow easy positioning. Like many similar set dungeon objectives this one is a matter of holding off until you have a promising pack and being prepared to restart if you get bad RNG on group spawns. The other objective is to spend 300 wrath within 10 seconds (x5). That is what I really struggled with until I could cube a Flense. It was still difficult to spam enough within 10 seconds but I got it done. This dungeon was not as bad as some of the RNG-heavy ones from other classes but it was incredibly gear-dependent.

The last crusader dungeon I completed was Akkhan’s. This one’s objectives were to use condemn on 10 different enemies (x10), and to kill 150 enemies while under the effect of Akarat’s Champion. The steed charge weapon/shield combo I farmed for the Roland’s dungeon also worked great here. In fact it felt almost mandatory, because my biggest challenge with this set dungeon was clearing all the required enemies in time. Raw power also seemed to matter again in this one, and like in the Light’s set dungeon, much of the time I wasted was spent trying to take down the elites. Rounding up tons of enemies with steed charge + illusory boots was simple and the small enemies died quick enough from condemn at least. Of all the crusader dungeons this one took me the most tries. My failures were all either by dying like an idiot, or to the timer running out with a handful of enemies left.

Overall these weren’t too bad. The Invoker’s is by far the easiest, not just of the crusader dungeons but including the wizard and demon hunter ones as well. Considering I had never really played a crusader much before attempting these, I was pretty pleased at my success. Even without really knowing what I was doing this series was easier than the wizard ones. Now to figure out which class to work on next!

 

Rise of the Necromancer

Yesterday saw the launch of the new Necromancer class in Diablo 3. If you’ve been around this blog a while you know I’m a huge D3 fan, so it was a no-brainer for me to spend $14.99 to pick up the new goodies. I spent most of my evening yesterday checking out the class and some of the other offerings that came along with the newest patch, and came away very pleased.

The first thing I tried when I booted up D3 last night was the new Challenge Rift system. Okay I lied the first thing I did was run to my stash and rearrange things to take advantage of the 2 new stash tabs I got with my necromancer purchase. But after that the next thing I did was try a challenge rift! The system took me a minute to figure out. Namely, to get to the challenge rift, you have to select a character, but before you log into a new game you must go to the game settings. Challenge rift will be a new option for your game type (beside the old story and adventure modes). Selecting this will assign you the character for the randomly-selected greater rift run of the week. When you zone in you’re in a new mini-area where you can learn about challenge rifts, check out your assigned skills and gear, and practice on some demons they keep laying around for that purpose. It was fun to see someone else’s build and try to make it work. This week’s rift was a demon hunter with an impale build. The fact that it was randomly selected means sometimes you end up with strange choices, for instance this person had a cubed ability that boosted fan of knives…but they were not using that skill. In any case I managed to get through the rift in about half the time of the original run so I made it work just fine. I really enjoyed this concept and my main hope is that they either make it more rewarding (the crafting mats were nice but not exciting), or update the offerings more frequently. I can see myself trying it out once every week but I’m not that interested in trying to climb the leaderboards or anything. The real joy of it is just seeing what random build they give you and making the most of it.

Anyway after the challenge rift was conquered I finally made my brand new necromancer. I decided to level via the story since it has been quite a while since I played all the way through it. Like I sometimes do with single-player games, I made things super easy for myself so I could play around and focus on the narrative instead of the gameplay. That meant normal mode and a gem of ease, so enemies just fell over when they so much as looked at me until I got above level 60. I ended up setting on a build that I’m sure will not be remotely functional at endgame but has been keeping me very entertained. I’ve got 1 generator, 1 movement ability, and the rest of my abilities all summon minions of one flavor or other. I had a blast running around and turning the corpses of my enemies into part of my rolling death swarm. By the end of the night I had made it into Act V so tonight I’ll finish up and switch to adventure mode. Hopefully I can get some set pieces and start figuring out a viable build for running rifts.

I expect I’ll be heading back to FFXIV before the end of the weekend, both because all my friends are still deeply entrenched there and because I don’t want to burn out on D3 before the start of the new season next month. Still, I’d say I’ve already gotten my money’s worth out of this content pack. The cosmetic stuff is nice, the stash space is amazing for this pack rat, and the new class has been great fun. I am already looking forward to playing as a necromancer next season!

June 2017 Gaming Goals

Hello again. I’ve survived yet another month and that means that it is time for this month’s edition of gaming goals.

May Goals Recap:

FFXIV: Get enough scripture to buy a weapon, and get it upgraded. Nope. I’m still sitting on all the materials for this because I could never decide if I wanted to buy it for scholar or astrologian. Then I stopped playing FFXIV for a while so it was moot.

Finish the aether oil step of the anima weapon. Yes! By some miracle I actually got this done. I blame a brief burst of enthusiasm for the game fueled by the most recent live letter with all the new Stormblood info.

Diablo 3: Complete the season. Yes! I honestly surprised myself with this one, because I was afraid I would get bored and wander away just before the finish line like last season. Instead I followed through and was weirdly proud of myself for accomplishing this.

WoW: Level one more class that I don’t already have at 110. Yes. Hahaha! I’ve been playing way too much WoW lately. The only classes I don’t have at 110 in some form now are Shaman, DK, and Warrior.


June Goals:

WoW: Level one more class to 110. I can tell I’m getting close to burning out on WoW, and with Stormblood on the horizon I know I’ll be putting it down once this month’s sub is finished. Hopefully before then I can get one of the 3 remaining classes up enough to see their story.

Subnautica: Rebuild my sweet sea base empire. This is my AggroChat game of the month for June, so I have to play it at least a bit. My intention here is to see what has been added in the 6+months since I last played, and to do my best to recreate some of the cool stuff I had acquired in my earlier playthroughs.

FFXIV: Play Stormblood. Ok this is basically cheating, of course I’m going to do this! But I don’t want to have any more strict goals because I want to be very chill and just enjoy the launch and the leveling process without having to rush things.


Once again this is a month with really modest goals. I’m hoping that means I will actually accomplish them for a change. And I know myself well enough to know that when Stormblood launches all other games will be purged from my attention for at least a few weeks, so there’s no sense trying to do anything ambitious in June.

Season Journeyed

Season10I can hardly believe it, but last night I finished the final step for the Guardian level of the season journey in D3.

When the season journey was first introduced in its current incarnation, it was something I was excited about for the cosmetic rewards far more than anything else. Since I’ve been participating, I’ve grown to love the “new game smell” of the start of a new season, complete with a decent sampling of my friends flocking back to the game to see what’s on offer, level together, and get the new goodies. I was completely casual about my playtime, enjoying murdering demons for the fun of it without pushing myself too hard. A few seasons in, I started hanging around with a few friends who would go all out at the start of the season, and were willing to carry me around so I could progress a bit farther. Those carry seasons saw me get my first bonus stash tab, and saw me start to push myself a little bit in terms of difficulty even when I was playing solo. The evidence that it was possible to meet the goals of the season was in front of me, and I got the urge to spend less time getting carried.

The past two seasons have seen me push way outside of my original comfort zone. I unlocked all my bonus stash tabs, and pushed into higher and higher greater rifts. Last season I got pretty close to completing the Guardian level of the season journey. I had all my conquests done, I just stopped short of a few other goals. The current season has been a little strange, since way fewer of my friends decided to come back for this one. Other than a little bit of paragon level farming in the first few days, I didn’t get carried to anything this time around. In fact, I was the one carrying some of my other friends more often than not, or at worst trading power leveling so we could do the set bonus conquests.

I pushed myself to get to GR70 solo as soon as I possibly could, so I could unlock the sweet sweet primal ancient drops. (Sadly this determination was repaid in a primal ancient Blackthorne’s piece and yes I am still bitter.) I ran rifts and bounties to gear up and level gems. I worked my way through 8 set dungeons and GR55 with 6 different set bonuses. And last night I soloed Adria in under 15 seconds on torment XIII and finally finished the Guardian requirements and officially completed the season journey. It was stressful sometimes and frustrating at others, but in the end it was an achievable goal and I’m glad I finally got motivated to follow through on it. I’m not sure whether I want to keep going in the season or switch to my non-seasonal stable. I am sure I will probably be taking a break from D3 soon, but maybe not right away. A friend recently asked if I was going to try for the achievement and wings for mastering all of the set dungeons for every class and I dismissed it because I figured I’d be working on the season journey for a while longer. Maybe I will try to get those wings after all.

Set Dungeons Round 2

To finish off my second conquest for the season I’ve been working toward clearing 8 different set dungeons. Last night I finally finished this off. I wrote about my experiences with the demon hunter dungeons here already, so now I want to discuss the wizard ones. Well, I mostly want to complain about the wizard ones.

The set dungeons are all incredibly uneven in difficulty. Overall, the demon hunter ones were pretty easy. The worst of those four was probably the Marauder’s, because you had to find and trigger all the rock worms but still avoid being in melee with them. In contrast, that dungeon was probably on par with the easiest of the wizard ones.

The first wizard dungeon I tackled was Tal Rasha’s. I love the mechanics of that set, but the dungeon was not super fun. It is very similar to the Marauder’s dungeon, complete with annoying worms you have to avoid. Keeping up stacks of the Tal Rasha buff isn’t too bad, the biggest challenge in this one is avoiding all the worms while still finding and killing everything within the time limit. I’d say this was one of the two easiest wizard dungeons.

Next up was the Firebird’s set dungeon. The layout was easy enough to memorize, but I struggled a bit with the objectives. You essentially have to group up mobs and let them “kill” you to spawn the meteor from Firebird’s set bonus, and hope you have collected enough to meet the objective. Since there’s a long cooldown timer on the meteor you only get a few chances over the length of the dungeon to finish this. The other objective, causing enemies to burn, was much easier. This dungeon is weird since to achieve both of the main objectives you have to artificially weaken yourself, so enemies can kill you and so they live long enough to catch the burning effect. It made clearing the whole place within the time limit a challenge, and it took me quite a few tries to finish.

The third wizard dungeon I attempted was Vyr’s, and honestly it was the worst of the four. The two objectives were actually fairly simple: getting stacks in archon form and killing enemies in archon form. Those things happen almost automatically in the normal course of clearing the place. What makes this dungeon awful is the size of it, combined with the number and type of enemies. Contrary to the Firebird’s dungeon, here you need to be as powerful as possible, to increase your archon uptime and to quickly kill all the enemy swarms so you can move away at high speed. The map is a maze and absolutely requires you to spam teleport to clear it in the time limit. Making things worse are the fallen-type enemies. The little guys run away which makes it hard to track down everything for the clear, and the shamans keep summoning more so they’re hard to keep track of. I spent an entire evening working on this one, and by the end every failure came down to one or two enemies that I had lost somewhere on the huge sprawling map.

Nervous after the rough time I had with Vyr’s, I put off the last dungeon for a couple days. Finally, last night I finished up with Delsere’s dungeon. I had a hard time finding written guides for this one for some reason, so I had to resort to watching a video guide, which I do not usually like. It turns out I really did not need to worry about it at all, it was by far the easiest of the wizard dungeons. Delsere’s is one of the set dungeons with a weird requirement that doesn’t seem to stem directly from the set bonus itself. In this case it means that you have to reflect 200 projectiles using wave of force. Luckily this can be done very early in the dungeon by finding a big group of bees and standing in a slow time bubble until they shoot a ton of tiny horrible bees at you. As long as you don’t get murdered by evil bees the only other thing you have to do is catch a few large groups of enemies in your slow time bubble and your main objectives are done. The map layout has some awkward spots that require a bit of backtracking but it is small enough and the enemies are generally grouped enough that it wasn’t a problem to finish in time.

Finishing the last wizard set dungeon netted me some achievement spam, finishing up my second conquest and completing the Conqueror tier of the season journey. I’m not sure it has been fun exactly, but mastering all eight of these set dungeons has at least been an interesting challenge. And I’ve learned which ones are easy to do for future seasons. Now I’m debating whether I want to try to finish the final, Guardian tier of the season journey. I have never actually completed that tier before, but I suspect I could make it this time around if I don’t burn out on the game first. I’ve already finished GR70 solo, extracted 40 cube powers, and leveled three gems to 70. That leaves a 4 minute (T13) speed run, a 15 second Adria (T13) kill, and one more conquest to do. We will see if I stay motivated long enough to finish those off.

Weekly gaming grab bag

I’ve been adrift a little bit in my gaming over the past week or so. The D3 season keeps progressing in smaller chunks, and I am getting close to finishing my second conquest. I just need one more set dungeon mastery, since I did Tal Rasha’s, Vyr’s, and Firebird’s after finishing my 4 demon hunter ones. The wizard dungeons have been harder overall than the DH ones, with Vyr’s in particular being quite awful due mostly to its size and spread of monsters to kill. I did the basic completion of Delsere’s before, but never mastered it. I guess as long as it isn’t worse than Vyr’s I should be fine. I am very much looking forward to being finished with these.

I’ve mostly wandered away from FFXIV, with most of my play time happening on Tuesday for our weekly raid night. There’s so much I could be doing but I’m in a really solid place to start the expansion so anything else is not very vital. It’s nice to stop obsessively grinding lore. I also made yet another attempt at FFXV and yet again bounced off it super hard. I guess I need to admit that the combat in that game is just not for me and let it go. At this point it is not that I can’t do it, it’s that I really just do not enjoy it at all. Instead I booted up a new game of Horizon: Zero Dawn and put in an afternoon reliving that joy. I think I’m going to try to motor through the story this time instead of doing all the side quests and exploration, just so I can have it fresh in my head to talk about with friends who are playing now.

I have also been logging into WoW every once in a while to work on my reputation grind to unlock flying. I’m hoping I can get it finished before my subscription runs out because I doubt I will pay for another month right now. The game is fun enough but the manic joy from the Legion launch is long gone and everything in front of me looks like a horrible long grind. While many of my WoW guildies have embraced the grind, it just makes me want to check out and do something else.

The same combination of overwhelming amounts of new stuff to do along with a long grind for character power rewards is keeping me away from WildStar as well. Every time I log in I have fun for a while but when I look into the long term progression I check out. These kinds of mechanics are great for people who are super invested in one game and need something to keep them engaged, but seem like this unassailable mountain that you will always be behind on when you’re a new or returning player. I guess this is one of the reasons why D3’s seasons are so appealing to me, because no matter how progressed or not my non-seasonal characters are, everybody gets to start over from scratch at the start of a new season, and you avoid that sense of “I can never catch up” that’s so demoralizing.

Well, that’s what I’ve been up to over the past week or so. I can feel the start of a super introverted spell coming on as I start poking at more single player games and avoiding group content. I’m mostly fine with this since I have a lot to keep me busy on my own, and my friends are somewhat dispersed across multiple games right now too. As long as I’m out of this mode by the time Stormblood launches I know I’ll be fine.

Ready, Set Mastery

I’m not sure why, but I ended up getting hooked into Diablo 3 season 10 in spite of myself. The season got off to a really slow start for me, barely getting through the main chapters of the season journey by the end of the opening weekend. Somehow that was still enough to get its claws in. I suppose it helps that I was sick a bit this week, and D3 is nothing if not the perfect mindless pastime when you aren’t feeling well.

One of the reasons I had written this season off is that the conquest options this time around are not that great. The “freebie” one is to level 3 legendary gems to 65, the rest are all stinkers. Two of them are speed run achievements that essentially require a coordinated group, and two more are multi-class achievements that require leveling at least one extra character. So of course I got it into my head somehow that I wanted to do the set dungeon mastery one. This requires mastering 8 different set dungeons. I had been throwing shards at Kadala trying to complete all of my demon hunter class sets and finally got them all.

I did the Marauder’s one first since that was the free gift set this season, and honestly it was one of the worst of the four. Those stupid rock worms are a pain and I was always tight on time because of missing an enemy or two in all the nooks and crannies of that map. Next up was the Unhallowed Essence dungeon, which had a lot of the same problems as the Marauder’s, but with fewer annoying worms. Mostly that one came down to RNG being kind and giving me nice double packs of spiders to hit with my multishot. The Shadow set dungeon was strange to me. I had never used that set before and clearing the whole thing in time with a single target impale build was pretty daunting. It turned out to be far easier than I imagined. After a couple practice runs to get the lay of the land I had no trouble with it. I saved the Natalya’s dungeon for last, mostly because I was waiting for a couple of extra pieces of gear to drop to help make it easier. Honestly I’m not sure it mattered. That dungeon was by far the easiest of the four. The map is nice and open and the objectives are incredibly easy.

The big lesson I learned from mastering all four of these is that set dungeons require a really different mindset from the rest of the game. For one thing, the map for each one is static, so it pays to memorize the layout (or look at the map ahead of time online like I did) to optimize your path. It also requires some patience and discipline, since for some of the objectives one misclick can mean failure. I found it helps to try to achieve a sort of zen state while attempting these. Do a few trial runs so your path through the map becomes second nature, since that will help make sure you finish in time. Then just focus on your objectives and glide along until either you win or you fail. I got very used to letting myself die quickly if I failed so I could port out and start over. All of these dungeons, even the easiest one, took at least 2 or 3 tries. I also recommend sticking with one until you clear it, because the few times I got frustrated and did something else just meant I had to get a few more practice runs in to get up to speed when I came back later. Better to just get through it while the dungeon and your build are fresh in your brain.

Anyway now I have two shiny new banners to show off my DH skills, and can start thinking about which other class I want to master. OK let’s be serious the answer here is wizard, which to my great shame I still haven’t gotten all of the masteries for. I’ll be leveling one up to correct this grievous error. And of course there is the ulterior motive here, which is that mastering ALL of the set dungeons scores you a sweet pair of wings. I honestly don’t know if I have it in me to do these for the melee classes, but maybe someday. Those wings are some serious motivation.